A trip through the mid-Atlantic region held nothing but success for the men’s water polo team, as they went 2-0 in their weekend excursion. In Baltimore, they downed Johns Hopkins, and they defeated George Washington University in the nation’s capital.
The Tigers (9-3 overall, 2-0 Collegiate Water Polo Association), ranked no. 11 in the country as of Sept. 23, made a statement to the rest of their league with this pair of wins. They also got the bad taste out of their mouths after finishing their California road trip with a 10-7 loss against University of California Davis.
The battle against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (8-2 overall, 2-1 CWPA) went down to the wire, a large difference from when Princeton thumped this team 18-5 at their last meeting in the CWPA Championship tournament last season. Indeed, Johns Hopkins held Princeton on the ropes, holding a 7-5 lead at halftime and a 12-10 lead heading into the final period.
Senior center Thomas Nelson, however, wouldn’t let his team go quietly. Nelson, who leads his team in goals on the season, netted two back-to-back to bring the Tigers level. Another Blue Jays goal and a goal from Nelson would put the game at 13 all. Freshman driver Michael Swart seemed to have made the game-winner with just under 77 seconds to go, but Johns Hopkins’ Giovanni Cragnotti found the back of the net with just two seconds left to force overtime.
After a pair of goals was exchanged to force double overtime, the score was 15 apiece. The hero at this crucial juncture was sophomore attack Jordan Colina. Colina, second behind Nelson on the team in total goals scored, put in two goals in the second overtime, as the Tigers held the Blue Jays to none. The Tigers would head to their next stop exhausted but victorious with a 17-15 win.
The game against George Washington (2-9)was certainly a less close affair. Princeton hit the Colonials hard to open the game, scoring the first three of the contest. The Tigers wouldn’t relinquish their advantage, holding to a 7-3 lead as they finished the first half.
While the Colonials scored the first goal of the half, a 5-2 run then gave the Tigers a six-goal edge, effectively putting the game out of reach. The Tigers would cruise to a 14-9 victory, paced by Nelson and freshman utility Ryan Wilson, each with four goals. Sophomore goalie Vojislav Mitrovic put out a solid defensive effort with 13 saves.
The Tigers get a break this weekend before hitting the road once again, facing fellow CWPA team Bucknell.